Transport of Traffic-Related Microplastic Particles in Receiving Water
A majority of microplastic particles (MPs) in marine waters are transported with rivers from land-based sources. Traffic is estimated to be one of the largest sources of MPs, hence stormwater and subsequently urban waterways are expected to be important transportation routes of MPs to marine waters. However, there is currently little knowledge of MP fate from land sources to marine waters. The aim of this study is to investigate the transport of traffic-related microplastic particles in a receiving freshwater body using hydrodynamic modelling. A 16 km stretch of the Göta River, Sweden’s largest river, was set up using MIKE 3 FM software. The model builds on data on water flows in the river and its tributaries, water levels and salinity stratification in the Kattegat strait, and meteorological conditions. Concentrations of MPs in stormwater and MP characteristics data, including prevalent particle sizes and density of commonly occurring polymers, were found in the literature. The simulations show that peak concentrations of MPs have a short duration; however, elevated concentrations of MPs may be present for hours after rainfall. If the MPs do not settle, as is the case for low density MPs including tyre rubber, a high load of MPs from the city of Gothenburg will reach the marine environment. Biofouling and MPs adhering to mineral particles, as has been shown in marine waters, may considerably change the characteristics of MPs and should be considered in future studies.
KeywordsHydrodynamic modelling Microplastic fate Traffic-related emissions
- Jannö, A.: Förekomst av mikroplast i dagvatten från väg och trafik i Göteborg - Provtagning och analysering. Bachelor thesis, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden (2016)Google Scholar
- Magnusson, K., Eliasson, K., Fråne, A., Haikonen, K., Hultén, J., Olshammar, M., Stadmark, J., Voisin, A.: Swedish sources and pathways for microplastics to the marine environment: a review of existing data, Report number C 183. IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, Stockholm (2016)Google Scholar
- Tyréns, A.B.: Badvattenkvalitet Göta älv – modelleringsstudie (Bathing water quality in the Göta River - modelling study), Göteborg, Sweden (2016)Google Scholar